Sculpting Kit

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Housed in one slim compact are two shades of silky, fragrance-free pressed powder: a light shade for highlighting and a dark shade for contouring and creating depth/shadows. Used with the appropriate angled contour brush (Make Up For Ever sells these, as do M.A.C. and Sephora) the two powders work beautifully to sculpt your face and define your features.

The process of contouring is an art and requires practice to look right (and be convincing). It may not be something you do daily, but for special occasion makeup it can make a big difference (especially if you’re going to be photographed). Almost without exception the covers of fashion magazines show models and actresses whose features have been softly contoured and highlighted to a flattering degree. You can do this, too, but again, it takes practice.

The shade options in Sculpting Kit are a mixed bag; the darker shade in 02 Neutral Light is too warm (orange-ish) for light skin tones, while 01 Light Pink isn’t pink at all and is actually soft and neutral (a much better choice for fair to light skin tones). Shade 04 Dark is great for tan skin tones while 03Gold is the trickiest to work with unless you blend the two shades together and use them for bronzing powder rather than for contouring and highlighting.

Regardless of which set you choose, these go on smoothly and impart soft color that’s easy to build—and the color lasts. This is worth seeking out if you don’t mind the expense and want to try your hand at contouring/highlighting.

  • Shades for contouring fair to tan skin tones.
  • Very smooth, flake-free powder texture and even application.
  • Soft color deposit so you can build to desired result without skin looking muddy or “dirty”.
  • Expensive.
  • Not every duo is ideally suited for contouring.

This Paris-based makeup collection traces its roots to theatrical and fashion makeup, building on the concept that a professional makeup artist not only desires, but also needs, every conceivable color and texture to create the broadest range of looks. Since 1984, Make Up For Ever creators Dany Sanz and Jacques Waneph have been doing their best to meet these criteria. Through the years, this line has gone from offering a tremendous array of colors in their own European boutiques to a more streamlined, "everyday" collection of products in selected department stores and (primarily) Sephora, whose parent company, LVMH, has owned Make Up For Ever since 1999.

The color line presents an intriguing blend of classic, workable shades positioned next to some truly unique hues and finishes that only those involved with theater or the most flamboyant "anything goes" makeup artist (or diva) would covet. A major plus for this line is that the majority of colors are densely pigmented and work beautifully on medium to deep skin tones. The drawback is that fair and lighter skin tones may be left feeling that most of the color choices are too intense for them, especially if their goal is a soft, natural makeup application—though the choices in that regard are becoming more plentiful. For those who literally want it all when it comes to possible shades, this line more than delivers what it takes to please.

An interesting aspect of this line is that, category to category, there's often a similar pattern: one or two extraordinary to very good products, followed by mediocrity. It is the average products (and a correspondingly fewer number of poor ones) that tarnish this line and make its prices seem too inflated. However, if you pay attention (and purchase) the products Make Up For Ever does best, you will undoubtedly be pleased.

For more information on Make Up For Ever, call (877) 757-5175 or visit

Note: The product assortment below is typical of what you will find at Sephora boutiques across the country. If you wish to view the complete collection of Make Up For Ever, the only place to do that is at their freestanding stores in New York City or Los Angeles (or their European stores).

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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